Message from the Director

Promoting the dignity of every person and the common good of all people

The Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity is dedicated to research, teaching, and service that increase the effectiveness of efforts to promote Integral Human Development, a holistic model of flourishing rooted in the dignity and full potential of the human person.

With the goal of understanding the challenges and aspirations of people living in extreme poverty around the developing world, we conduct research that grows out of engagement with local communities.

We learn from community members, working with partner organizations that directly implement programs to provide quality education, enhance health, foster livelihoods, and promote accountable and responsive government.

We assist development practitioners, policy makers, and people grappling with poverty in their own communities to increase the effectiveness of their efforts to promote integral human development, a holistic model of flourishing rooted in the dignity and full potential of each person.

We seek to understand:

  • The pathways and determinants of integral human development
  • How improving individual or community recognition of human dignity and other holistic components of development can influence economic growth and social change
  • How community engagement can instill self-confidence, individual responsibility, reciprocity, and community awareness

To ensure lessons learned inform future research projects and practical efforts to promote human flourishing, we share such lessons with our community partners as well as development scholars and practitioners. These products can include:

  • Case studies of community change processes
  • Program evaluations that measure progress toward integral human development
  • Pilot projects that identify effective approaches for leveraging community perspectives and resources to promote development and improve long-term socioeconomic outcomes


Completed Projects 

How can we best integrate refugees?
                                                       Visit website.

Humanitarian Corridor Initiative

Thousands of refugees and migrants risk their lives each year crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. A “humanitarian corridor” initiative, started following an agreement signed by the Italian government and several religious and non-governmental organizations, is providing a small number of refugees with safe travel and visas to Italy, along with housing and resettlement assistance upon arrival. (more...)

How can policies best protect the human dignity of migrant workers?

The Role of Labor Intermediaries in Migrant Welfare (Sri Lanka)

The goal of this research project is to study how regulatory policy can improve the welfare of Sri Lankan labor migrants in the Middle East. In particular, we focus on the role of recruitment agencies that match Sri Lankan workers to construction and domestic work jobs and play a key role in determining the working conditions and choices available to these migrants.  (more...)

How can maternity spaces best support the health of women and children?

Maternity Spaces and Integral Human Development (Nairobi, Kenya)

The research focuses on maternity environment and its impact on users' health. Healthy setting is known to influence childbirth and health outcomes for women and children. The birth environment supports the achievement of positive outcomes by influencing the experiences and perceptions of users. (more...)

How can local savings groups transform rural communities?

Community Lending and Outside Capital (Uganda)

In order to help bring affordable loans to the world’s poorest people, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) has created a network of Savings and Internal Lending Communities (SILCs) around the world. While these groups are effective at leveraging local knowledge to make loans with low default risk, demand for loans in SILCs greatly exceeds the supply of available funds. (more...)


How can mentoring help women’s business start-ups succeed?

Mentoring as a Hand out of Poverty (Kenya, Ghana, the Philippines, Peru)

Urban areas of the developing world are crowded with female-owned microenterprises struggling to make a profit. Yet even in the most challenging environments, a minority of businesses prosper. Can these entrepreneurs, which have learned to thrive in arduous circumstances, transfer what they have learned to a woman running a similar small business in the same environment? (more...)


How can access to markets strengthen communities?

Markets, Communities, and Sustainable Development in the Amazon (Brazil)

Leading scholars have shown how economic growth diminishes the threat of war, while poverty and hopelessness create the underlying conditions for conflict. This project explores the role increasing jobs through businesses and markets plays in the prevention, reduction, or recovery from conflict in its many forms. (more...)

How does medical worker abuse of pregnant women affect newborn development?

Measuring Person-Centered Maternity Care and Developmental Outcomes in Children in a Peri-urban Setting (Kenya)

Disrespectful and abusive care of women during hospital stays for labor and delivery is a significant problem in sub-Saharan Africa. Some scholars have argued that dignified care in this key developmental transition may have lasting positive effects on women and children. This study examines these hypotheses by proposing an examination of person-centered maternity care. (more...)

How does religion affect the integration of migrants and refugees?

Religion, Church, and the Integration of Migrants in Europe

Europeans vary greatly with respect to their attitudes toward the million-plus migrants who have entered Europe or have sought to enter Europe in recent years. In collaboration with researchers at partner institutions in Europe this project seeks to determine whether, how, religious identity, beliefs, and practices affect the attitudes that European citizens across three countries (Italy, Germany, and Austria) have toward migrants and the appropriateness or possibility of their integration into European societies. (more...)


How can we promote greater access to maternal health?

Measuring the Value of Insurance and Maternal Care: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Dandora, Kenya

Residents of Dandora, a sprawling section of Nairobi dominated by a massive garbage dump, contend with high unemployment, food insecurity, violence, poor health, and environmental issues.  (more...)

How can we promote the inclusion of youth?

Kenyan Youth Scenarios Workshops

In 2010 and 2011, several hundred Kenyan youth leaders and activists took part in a series of weeklong workshops designed to help them envision how young people could shape the country 20 years in the future. (more...)

How do women overcome abusive relationships?

Empowering Pregnant Women in Lima, Peru

Many Peruvian women report experiencing physical or sexual violence in long-term romantic relationships, and studies have identified pregnancy as a time of particularly high risk for victimization. That violence carries risks for both mother and child during pregnancy and postpartum. (more...)


How do schools promote good citizens?

Education and Citizenship in Kenya

Education is thought to contribute to citizenship formation by inculcating a sense of nationalism, but also by spurring citizen engagement through the diffusion of political knowledge, the contribution to internal efficacy, and the encouragement of political participation. In an ideal world, education can build trust towards fellow citizens. (more...)


Collaborative for Econometrics and Integrated Development Studies (CEIDS)


The Collaborative for Econometrics and Integrated Development Studies (CEIDS) is a community of researchers integrating shared Judeo-Christian faith and values with work that seeks to equip, evaluate, and encourage the relief and development arms of the global church.                                        

Centered at the Ford Family Program within the Kellogg Institute for International Studies at the University of Notre Dame, the collaborative is creating a global community of empirical researchers based both domestically and in low- and middle-income countries. CEIDS aims to encompass a virtual network of scholars committed to activating the values of the community into research, service, and teaching related to international development and the work of faith-based development institutions worldwide. 


We work with partner organizations and community members to identify key concerns and invite researchers to investigate such challenges with the aim of offering sustainable solutions. The Ford Program works with a variety of implementing organizations, maintaining a special relationship with the Congregation of Holy Cross, which founded Notre Dame, and the communities Holy Cross serves around the world.


Caritas Kenya
Catholic Relief Services
Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA), Kenya
Congregation of Holy Cross
Faculty of Business Administration and Management, Uganda Martyrs University
Holy Cross Parish, Dandora, Kenya
Institute for Educational Initiatives, University of Notre Dame
Luigi Giussani Institute for Higher Education (LGIHE)
Pulte Institute for Global Development
Strathmore University, Nairobi, Kenya
UGAFODE Microfinance Limited (MDI), Uganda
Uganda Martyrs University (UMU)
UPFORD (University Partnership For Outreach, Research and Development), Uganda
Verizon Foundation

Ford Program Newsletters



The Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity

Bestowed by the Kellogg Institute’s Ford Program in Human Development Studies and Solidarity, the Ford Family Notre Dame Award for International Development and Solidarity recognizes individuals or organizations that stand in solidarity with those in deepest need. Awardees learn from those they serve, working together with them as they become agents of their own change.

Ford Family Notre Dame Award recipients are honored for substantial contribution to the promotion of international human development through research, practice, public service, or philanthropy.

Click here for award recipients.